Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Language of IT

As should be perfectly clear from much of the material here, I do not abide by many of the common distinctions between the business world and the world of information technology.

Many in the business do not delve into the information technology that supports us, perhaps because they think that they cannot understand the language. There may be a lot of data to absorb, but the principles are all common sense.

But as with natural languages, things that initially appear incomprehensible can usually be explained very simply - not by a thorough memorisation of extensive vocabulary, but simply by recognising how the language is built up - the basic components of grammar and a general understanding of how things evolve.

There may appear to be major differences. For example, in our daily interactions, someone who knows the vocabulary and syntax of more than three or four languages is quite unusual in the English speaking world.

But for those who work in computing, it is quite normal to be able to write fluently in far more than that. However the non-technologist would counter: compared to German or French or Russian, the language of computing is usually exceedingly simple, with very limited vocabulary and very few rules of syntax …

… and that is exactly why everyone should be able to understand it.

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